11 September 2001: Bad news from Earth, New Moon Rising
"In Washington, and all along the east coast, it was another one of those classic clear September days [Bill] Readdy had stopped to admire the previous week. While many were still on the commute into work, the attacks began. At NASA Headquarters, as with the rest of Washington DC, no one quite knew what was going on. Soon people were watching news footage of the Twin towers on fire in New York. Then came word of an explosion at the Pentagon and rumors (which later proved to be false) of another one at the State Department. Anyone looking to the west from Washington could clearly see a plume of dark smoke rising from across the Potomac. Meanwhile, rumors of another plane flying up the Potomac toward Washington made the rounds. Other rumors spread of an odd plane seen circling above the Mall. People quickly left their desks and, in the hours ahead, managed to find their way home. Soon the entire agency would either be shut down or shut off from the rest of the world. Shuttles were secured, and gates were locked."
"Upon further reflection, Culbertson said, "It's horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point. The dichotomy of being on a spacecraft dedicated to improving life on the earth and watching life being destroyed by such willful, terrible acts is jolting to the psyche, no matter who you are."